Frontier Gentleman was a radio Western series heard on CBS from February 2 to November 16, 1958, initially heard Sunday afternoons at 2:30pm through March when it moved to 7pm.
The program opened with a trumpet theme by Jerry Goldsmith and this introduction:
Herewith, an Englishman's account of life and death in the West. As a reporter for the London Times, he writes his colorful and unusual accounts. But as a man with a gun, he lives and becomes a part of the violent years in the new territories. Now, starring John Dehner, this is the story of J. B. Kendall, Frontier Gentleman...
Written and directed by Antony Ellis, it followed the adventures of journalist Kendall as he roamed the Western United States in search of stories for the Times. Along the way, he encountered various fictional drifters and outlaws in addition to well-known historical figures, such as Jesse James, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok.
Music for the series was by Wilbur Hatch and Jerry Goldsmith, who also supplied the opening trumpet theme. The announcers were Dan Cubberly, Johnny Jacobs, Bud Sewell and John Wald.
Supporting cast: Harry Bartell, Lawrence Dobkin, Virginia Gregg, Stacy Harris, Johnny Jacobs, Joseph Kearns, Jack Kruschen, Jack Moyles, Jeanette Nolan, Vic Perrin and Barney Phillips. (source: Wikipedia)
January 26, 2019 Subject:
Yes, superior series, one of the best! The acting, the scripts, the way the stories follow in order, each a strong episode.
On the other hand, because each is distinct, individual, it's hard to enjoy hearing it time and again, like the normal formula radio series. I am glad for the series and those who made it, those who preserved it for decades and those who put them up here for us . . . for free.
As to the "golden age," I'd instead say golden decade, 1945-1955. Following the war, old vaudeville type entertainments, the limits of the Depression and conservative standards were cast off. The damage to people from war, the expansion of horizons by those who saw war, war work and greater responsibilities wanted something deeper, and realistic. From comedies like Fibber, to adventure and detective shows, the sophistication showed. We are grateful to all those who toiled in radio, for it was the home entertainment center until television jumped the claim and took the audiences!
May 25, 2014 Subject:
Catch the episode THE BELLJOYS' PRISONER
Thanks fellow reviewer for the recommendation of this episode. Not only was it completely entertaining, it was so good I skipped to the end too see who platys the sheriff-judge-mayor Belljoy, only to find out it is the frontier gentleman himself, john dehner. Now, I knew he was a talented actor from his regular character roles on gunsmoke. I was even more impressed a while back to read that he is the artist behind some of Disney's most famous characters, I think from Bambi, and was also a hero of WWII. But this role as a morbidly obese asthmatic sheriff surprised me most of all! Currently on oxygen from asthma, I only hope the lovely and admirable mr.dehner was acting, and didn't really suffer respiratory distress! Give the episodE a listen to hear one of old time radio's finest . Thanks, volunteers!
May 11, 2014 Subject:
Among the best
I agree with my fellow reviewer: this is as good as it gets when it comes to Great American Radio theater from the end of the Golden age.
In fact, the real Golden age of radio, was actually the 1950s. Shows like this one, Gunsmoke, NightBeat, Suspense, and Escape were head and shoulders better than most of the shows in the 40s and prove it.
(to be fair, three of those shows, actually began in the 1940s. And Gunsmoke for one, was late 1940s. And again, in the spirit of fairness, all of those shows were great right out of the box. But in terms of overall high level of production values and writing, shows such as Frontier Gentleman, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, had few peers other than those previously mentioned shows which began in the late 1940s. So, at the very least, it might be fair to say, that the so-called "Golden Age of Radio" actually began in the late 1940s. Not to say that there weren't some great shows in the 1930s and early 40s. It's just that they were exceptions. And that's because it was still a new medium. But by the 1950s, the art had progressed, and the people who produced shows like this one, reached a whole new pinnacle. And because they were competing with television, they pushed the boundaries even further)
The acting, production, sound effects, and most especially the writing is right up there with my all-time favorite,"Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar".
Anthony Ellis was the producer/director and the writer of almost this entire series. The great film scoring master, Jerry Goldsmith, composed the theme song.
It's too bad there were only 41 episodes produced. But we are lucky they did this many, and twice lucky that they have been preserved.
And even thrice lucky, that we can download them free from this wonderful Internet archive.
And one of the few series you can listen to from beginning to end almost like an audiobook, yet each episode also stands alone.
October 27, 2013 Subject:
The concept of a London Times reporter coming to the Wild West to report back to London is very creative.The episodes were well thought out having a good story for each and good acting. Two of the most memorable episodes were "The Belljoy's Prisoner" where the characters were over-the-top, and "Wonder Boy" which had a good ironic twist. A couple commercials stood out too: "It makes good sense when you smoke Kent" and "The cars that 'can do'". This series surprised me at times with its violence and sensuality since it's from the 50's.
I really enjoyed listening to this series and recommend it.